Lions bike park opens with fanfare

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The Salt Spring Lions Club Commemorative Bike Park is ready for riders after a grand opening event at Salt Spring’s Mouat Park held on Monday.

The park officially opened at 11 a.m. with a festive and well-attended party marking the end to a successful campaign uniting local parents, biking enthusiasts, the Capital Regional District and the Salt Spring Lions, who contributed $150,000 to the project in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

“The park was a dream of many people and sport groups, and it goes to show that through cooperation and dedication, anything is possible,” Lions Club president Lorne Bunyan said in a short speech before cutting the ribbon with Salt Spring CRD director Wayne McIntyre.

Bunyan thanked Lion David Carlson and his committee for bringing the project to reality, the Salt Spring Island Bike Club, OutSpokin Bike Shop, Charlie’s Excavating and the construction crew, the CRD and parks personnel.

“We as Lions hope that this bike park, which is our heritage project, will stand the test of time as Portlock Park has,” Bunyan said. “To present and future generations, we pass on this bike park. Use it safely and enjoy.”

As well as acknowledging the Lions, McIntyre thanked CRD parks manager Dan Ovington and staff, the Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission and the community team who championed the project.

Planning for the bike park project was underway for more than a year. Extensive site analysis, environmental review and community consultation was undertaken before a preliminary design was presented to the community. Construction of the park began in July following the approval of the final design by the Parks and Recreation Commission.

An estimated 350 participants turned out for the opening event. They were treated to their first chance to try out the new sculpted tracks, plus a hot dog barbecue provided by the Lions and demonstrations by the Beshano Trials Club, who put on two performances of bike-based acrobatics. Bike tune-ups were provided by Sean Mulligan from OutSpokin Bike Shop. Helmet fittings and prize draws were also part of the action.

Project lead Elizabeth FitzZaland said that kids were already getting pumped for a ride during the weeks before the grand opening.

“We’ve had lots of children peeking over the fence and getting excited about it,” she said last week.

For more on this story, see the August 8, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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